Our collection of resources based on what we have learned on the ground
This Q&A session briefly considers the basic requirements, advantages, and disadvantages of hosting a website inside China. For a more detailed overview, use our clickable resources.
What are the compliance requirements when hosting a website in China?
To host a website in China, you must apply for an ICP (Internet Content Provider) license with the MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology). The MIIT will then assign a unique ICP number, after which the website goes live.
There are two types of ICP:
- An ICP License for a commercial website; or,
- An ICP Filling for a non-commercial website.
The unique ICP numbers assigned to a website must be displayed on the site. If a website does not have this number, it may be shut down.
Besides the ICP process, website owners also have to follow the Public Security Registration process within 30 days of the website going online.
Should you host your website inside or outside of China?
It depends on whether China is your primary market.
If the main focus of your website is the Chinese market, it would be preferable to host the website in China. This will ensure stable and consistent access to the website.
However, if the website is not hosted in China and the visitors of the website are mainly based in China, the below hinderances can be expected:
- The website might be blocked and completely non-accessible in China. The list of what is banned changes frequently;
- Due to the congested international internet exits and firewalls in China, a user’s experience may be disturbed due to some network latency;
- If the host uses a shared server instead of a dedicated server, any issues with other websites on that server may lead to a total ban on that server.
If you decide to host a website inside China, a company will have to be set up and all related compliances with respect to China’s stringent laws and regulations will have to be adhered to. This may be a distinct advantage of hosting a website outside of China.
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